“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues; and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.”
Last week, we thought about the blessing that comes from persecution. Part of that blessing comes from the tangible support and presence of the Holy Spirit in the middle of suffering. Jesus warned the disciples of the persecution they would face because He wanted them to be prepared. They had just been called by Jesus to be His disciples, and He was instructing them on their job description. They were going to be sent out, and Jesus wanted them to be aware of what would happen. The disciples were going to stand before rulers of the courts and the synagogues. They would be beaten and flogged for their testimony. All this must have sounded pretty grim, but Jesus promised them that they would not be without help.
The encouragement that Jesus offered was that the Spirit of the Father would be with them. Jesus could have simply said “the Holy Spirit,” but He wanted the disciples to be comforted. The term “Father” would be a source of comfort. The Spirit would speak through God’s followers and guide them as they encountered strife—and even death—as a result of their faith. This was not the only account of Jesus’ warning His disciples about persecution. Jesus warned His followers of how the world would react to them because they associated themselves with His name. As our world becomes increasingly less comfortable with Christian teaching, we should hold fast to God’s truth—and we rely on the Spirit in doing so.
- What did Jesus say the role of the Spirit would be? Why do you think Jesus used the title “Spirit of the Father” instead of “Holy Spirit” (v. 20)?
- How does the promise of security and eternity with Christ bring you comfort in the midst of persecution or other trying circumstances?
- Pray that when things get tough, we would cling to the comfort of the Holy Spirit.